Alana Marshall earns Spartans a point in Capital cracker against Hibs

Spartans skipper Alana Marshall fired home a free-kick to earn her team a point in a Capital cracker at Ainslie Park, the SWPL1 derby clash finishing 2-2.

The result keeps Debbi McCulloch’s team one point ahead of Hibs in the table. In a topsy-turvy encounter, the hosts took the lead before Hibs turned the match around and went in front only to be immediately pegged back once more.

Hibs began the brighter of the two, with their confidence on the ball belying their recent poor form and dominating possession early on.

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But defending set pieces and cross-balls has been a problem of late for Dean Gibson's side and they were made to pay just before the half-hour mark when Spartans skipper Alana Marshall drilled a corner into the box and Becky Galbraith's powerful header flew into the net.

Hibs got back into the game a minute before the half-time interval with a set piece of their own. A corner from the left flank wasn't cleared properly, and Nor Mustafa smashed home a volley from close range that flew into the roof of the net. Just after the hour, another set piece caused carnage in the Spartans area but Siobhan Hunter's header was cleared off the goal line by Ria McCafferty, the midfielder denying her former side.

However, the second for Hibs did arrive shortly after, on 67 minutes, and it was a wonderful strike – or a bit of luck, depending on your persuasion. After some pinball in the Spartans box, the ball broke to Liana Hinds at the edge of the area and she swung a left foot at it. It looked to be an attempt at a cross but was rewarded with the ball soaring over Spartans keeper Alicia Yates and into the top corner.

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McCulloch then made a triple substitution before the restart, and saw her side respond instantly to level the game once more. After Kat Smart was tripped at the edge of the area, Marshall stepped up and hammered a low free-kick into the bottom corner, with keeper Benne Haaland only able to divert the ball into the goal, the power defeating the Norwegian keeper as both sides had to settle for a point.

Elsewhere, Hearts put in a spirited performance before ultimately going down 2-0 away to Glasgow City. In SWPL2, Boroughmuir Thistle drew 0-0 at home to East Fife.

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Alana Marshall scored a free-kick to grab a point for Spartans at Ainslie Park. Picture: Mark Brown / SFC
Becky Galbraith headed Spartans in front. Picture: Mark Brown / SFC